Bourboulenc

Bourboulenc is an ancient white wine grape variety grown mainly in southern France. While it is reasonably widely planted, it is used mostly as a blending grape variety in various appellations in Languedoc, Provence and the Rhône. On its own, Bourboulenc makes wines with citrus tones and a touch of smoky, spicy complexity.

The variety has its first mention in literature of the 16th century, and is thought to be native to Provence. The name possibly comes from a vineyard in the area, but various hypotheses have been put forward. It has also been mooted that Bourboulenc has a Greek origin, where it was once known as Asprokondoura.

Now Bourboulenc is largely confined to the southern parts of France, where it is permitted in the white wines of a wide range of appellations including Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Bandol, Corbières, La Clape and Minervois. Its most common blending partners are Grenache Blanc and Clairette, along with a range of other lesser-seen grape varieties.

Bourboulenc is well behaved in the vineyard, offering good yields and resistance to rot. It is a late ripening variety, and is particularly useful to vignerons as it retains its acidity in the warm, dry Mediterranean climate. As such, its usual role in a blend is to provide balanced acidity and structure to the wine, although it also offers some spicy flavour characters.
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